. Monday, January 21, 2019 .


The long-awaited Disney post has come! Vincent and I had an incredible day at Disney, I was a little surprised that everything played out so perfectly. It was a very chilly day but that didn't stop us from staying until 9pm!

I arranged to meet up with my good friends Mame and Ryry for this day at Disney and I could not have been in better company. I had such a fun time with them, and Vincent and Ryry really clicked. Ryry assumed the guide role very well, and he had control of the map most of the day, which was totally fine with me! I was happy to just walk around and follow the flow.

Here is our video!



I will warn in advance that this vlog does not contain video footage of rides. To my surprise, almost all the rides that we went on were super dark. We went on one ride, the name escapes me at this moment but I think it was in Tomorrowland, where it was totally pitch black except for some stars. I also wanted to just be in the moment and enjoy the rides, so the only footage included in the vlog was our ride on 'It's A Small World'!





For those who have never been to Tokyo Disney, Vincent said it was exactly like Disney World in Florida, but on a smaller scale. They have various lands like Tomorrowland and Adventureland, but it's more condensed. I feel like this park is very do-able in one day if you come when it's not too crowded. I planned with Ryry ahead of time as to which day would be best to go and we found that the 10th was predicted to have very small crowds, supposedly less than 10,000 people in the park.




I have to say, it was a pretty empty park day! It was still busy, but the waits for rides were almost nothing. We walked unto a lot of rides, and the only time we really sat around on a line was towards the end of the night. We got caught in the rush of people looking to get one more ride in before the park's closure. Even so, at that time we only waited in line for 30 minutes! The wait flew by for me because there was an adorable baby right ahead of us and I was obsessed with her the entire time.


Of course, Vincent and I had to take a cute couple photo in front of the castle~



This was one of the most memorable days of our trip, and I remember walking around and thinking that I was so lucky to be here. I felt so lucky to be standing on a line, halfway across the world from my friends and family. The freezing breeze was making my hands red, but I snapped all these photos and videos happily. I want to thank Mame and Ryry for showing Vincent and I around. We couldn't have had a better time, and as I watched the fireworks I was overwhelmed with a gratefulness I can't put into words. I am so happy that Vincent and I embarked on this journey together.

I'll admit I was nervous about traveling internationally with him, but my worries melted away as soon as we headed out. Time and time again on our trip he showed me what love looks like. Every ride we rode that we sat beside each other, our hands were intertwined. Every time we sat beside each other, we whispered 'I love you' when we thought Mame and Ryry were busy chatting away.

I treasure the photos I have from this day, it shows pure happiness that only the magic of Disney could reveal to me.


. Monday, January 14, 2019 .


After an incredibly long break of a few days, another post is here! While traveling in Nikko, a post that will say the light of day a lot later, I managed to pick up a nasty cold before heading back to Tokyo so I haven't been able to crank out posts like I used to.

But I finally got around to sharing what is one of the best days during our Japan trip so far: our trip to Odaiba! I had no idea what to expect when we were heading over because I'd never been there before, but it totally blew us away. 

Here is our video!



After our hour-long train ride to Tokyo Teleport station, we arrived at Venus Fort, which is a multilevel shopping center that's right outside the station. I had planned for us to get some lunch there, and I will admit that we got lost trying to find the food court. While walking around looking for food, we noticed that Venus Fort was scarily similar to a regular mall you could find in New York, all the stores were foreign imported goods and they even had a Pinkberry! 

 

Venus Fort did have some lovely art displays, like the huge beachball collection with lights and the color changing fountain. These were huge and stunning!

Since Vincent isn't a big shopper and I wasn't too keen on anything I saw, we managed to locate the food court and decided to get some ramen. They had a few flavors, but I decided on the black garlic ramen because I love garlic! 



Sad to say, this ramen did not love me back. Vincent followed suit and got the same thing but we were both left dissatisfied by it. The flavor was more 'liquid smoke' than garlic and overall was pretty weak. This started a string of unsatisfactory meals that carried on for a few days, but you'll hear more about that later.

Feeling meh, we decided to head straight for the onsen and began following the path there. Google estimated it would take about 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes, we saw maybe 2 or 3 people. It was DEAD. It was dead to a point where we felt kind of creeped out, asking ourselves 'Where is everyone?'.

When we made it to the hot spring we came across a small group of people and breathed a sigh of relief. The hot spring we decided to go to is called Oedo Onsen Monogatari, and it includes indoor and outdoor baths, a sauna, spa services, and a full array of games and food. They tried to recreate an Edo  (?) style feeling throughout, and what resulted was an amazing and immersive hot spring experience that Vincent and I really enjoyed.

They gave us both yukata to wear and Vincent looked so handsome in his! I had some trouble tying mine because I'd never put one on before, but a nice woman in the changing room showed me how. Vincent said on his side there was a diagram, lucky!


I didn't get to film actually going into the hot spring (of course) but the outdoor ones were incredible. It was a bit chilly, being that Odaiba is very close to the water, and sitting in the hot water on the rocks was incredible. The onsen was busy, but not crowded, so I sat in an outdoor bath by myself. The baths are separated by gender, so Vincent got his own onsen experience he details in the video.

Perhaps most surprising of all was Vincent's eagerness to try 'Doctor Fish', which are tiny fish that eat the dead skin off of your feet. We sat in the fish infested water for 15 minutes, and Vincent's reaction is priceless. His feet are VERY sensitive, to the point where he won't even let me touch them, so I knew I had to record the fish nibbling on him!


Before we headed home for the night we decided to ride what once was (in 1999) the world's largest Ferris wheel. I want to preface this saying that I had a bad experience on a Ferris wheel once, so I am not a big fan of them. This one goes especially high up, and Vincent wonderfully documented my gradual freakout as we were getting to the peak. 

Quote: 'Whoo! We're at the highest point right now. If we die we will definitely not feel any pain :)'

Hope you enjoyed the video! Stay tuned for more ~

. Thursday, January 10, 2019 .

Our Harajuku day has come! I was really excited to go to Harajuku, famous for Japanese fashion. 

We headed out at around 10am to meet a friend at a vegan place off the main strip. I had been there before with Amanda and had been raving about their incredible moringa salad dressing. You may know the blogger Frertsu, also known as Anna. We connected on Twitter a while back and she's living in Japan so we arranged to meet up! You can find her blog (and her latest posts) here! 

We went to the vegan restaurant Longing House. I highly recommend it for those on a vegan diet, the portions aren't as small as typical vegan places in Japan and they offer an all you can eat salad nook.


Anna got this yummy veggie sandwich! Vincent and I were ravenous and ate our food so quickly we didn't take photos! Oops!

Anna walked us down Takeshita Street, which is the hub for all kinds of Harajuku fashion, from Lolita to Goth to Cyber Pastel. I tried to find some cute clothes for Vincent, but he isn't into the 90's street style look that's quickly becoming the trend in Harajuku. There were also some nice vintage areas to buy clothes, but nothing stood out to me.

Here is our daily vlog!


After eating at the restaurant and walking around, we stumbled upon one of the many crepe shops in Harajuku. I decided to get a strawberry cheesecake crepe with red bean, which was delicious! I really enjoy crepes and I wish they were just as common in Albany (or maybe not because then I'd have them every day!).




After filling up on our sugary crepes we strolled over to Meiji Jingu Shrine, which is only a hop away from the Harajuku train station. I've been here once before, but just for a few minutes, so I was happy to take a long stroll through the grounds with Vincent and Anna. Vincent loves nature, so this was a wonderful experience for him to be surrounded by the beauty of the shrine and the quiet tranquility of the trees.


There were a lot of businessmen walking together to the shrine, perhaps part of a company outing that they might make during the new year. As we walked, Anna and I discussed blogging, where our blogs are headed this year, and life in Japan. She's been here for almost a year already, and she walked around with the confidence of an experienced Harajuku go-er. 

Even so, none of us had ever been to the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden before, and we came upon a sign that advertised entry for 500 yen. I admit I was apprehensive to go in because of the price and cold weather, but Vincent insisted that we go, so we call coughed up 500 yen and headed on inside.

I have to say, this was an excellent call. The garden, though not in bloom because of the winter season, was amazing. We walked around the carefully carved paths and gazed into the depths of the fishing spot, all while being surrounded by a quiet that would make you think the hustle and bustle of Harajuku was miles away.




We ended up walking over 18,000 steps that day, but we ended our day with aching feet and happy faces. We headed over to Shibuya to get some sushi near the train station and said our goodbyes to Anna. 

It was a lovely day, and I would recommend heading into Meiji Jingu Inner Garden the second you get the chance when summer arrives!


. Wednesday, January 9, 2019 .

On our third day in Japan, we headed out to Akihabara!

more explanation on this later! haha


In the itinerary that I planned, we scheduled wake up time of around 8 am to make sure that we would have plenty of time to make it to the @home cafe (maid cafe) for breakfast. @home cafe opens at 10am, and with our Airbnb being about an hour away it gave us just enough time to catch the opening. 

I may have explained this briefly in my previous video or post but I recently became very interested in some of the maids working at @home cafe. I went to the @home cafe website to check out the maids before I went and found that they have an extensive list of information about the maids, photos, and links to their Twitter accounts. 

The main maid I became interested in is named Arthur. You can find her Twitter account here. 

Here is our video!




There are two locations for @home cafe, one of which is above a Don Quijote. If you head up to the 5th floor you can find the maid cafe after circling around the corner and following the cute pink wallpaper. When we arrived it was a bit too early so we looked around a bit before forming a small line. By the time the cafe opened, there was a line of about 5 people that consisted of middle-aged men, Vincent and myself. 

I was surprised to see that they automatically matched us with a maid that spoke English to try and accommodate us. Her name is Pikapi and she was really kind to us, offering to explain everything in English. I explained that I was really excited to see Arthur and was wondering if I could request her. I then found out the system this particular maid cafe operates on: you get to choose the maid you take a photo with (if you buy a photo set) and for the other activities such as writing on your food or making your water 'moe moe', it's done by whatever maid is free at the moment to do so.

I was pretty disappointed by this at first because I really wanted Arthur to do everything but I found that this was a really good way to get to know the other maids! We got to spend more time talking to Pikapi who was very charming! She hasn't made a Twitter yet but when she does I'm definitely going to link it. 


I decided to go light on the food because I expected to go to another maid cafe at around noon to see another maid I liked so I just ordered a dessert set. Vincent ordered the omurice and asked Pikapi if she could draw him on top of the rice in ketchup. She did an awesome job!





After having such a great and personal experience, I was hyped up to get to the next maid cafe. Another maid I liked named Cammy was scheduled to work at noon so I ran over there to see if she could serve me. Since that store is the main location, it was significantly more busy than the one in Don Quijote, and Cammy didn't have much time to serve us. I felt a little disappointed, but I tried to use this time to scout out more cute maids to follow on Twitter.



I also learned they had an app, and I'm obsessed with it already.

Overall I'm really over the moon with my maid cafe experience and would recommend it in a heartbeat (if you speak Japanese). I will say that the price isn't cheap, about 5000 yen in total for a basic dessert and food set (2 people). But it is an experience unlike any other, and you're paying for the experience!

After our meals from both maid cafes, we headed over to Taito Station to do some gaming and take our first purikura! Purikura is Japanese sticker photobooths that dispense cute, often themed photos! The one we did cost 400 yen and we got to get 2 digitally downloaded for free (one of which you saw above). The rest of the shots we took shown in the video are stickers that we currently carry in our wallets. As soon as I get back to America I've gotta scan it!


After purikura, I really wanted Vincent to get a taste of Karaoke so we headed over to Karaoke Kan to do some singing. We originally signed up for one hour but we had so much fun we extended it to two! I hope you can enjoy our terrible singing, I've put it at the end of the video for your listening pleasure! haha

All in all, we had a really fun day in Akihabara and would love to do it again!

. Sunday, January 6, 2019 .


I'm happy to announce that I'm back in Japan and this time I brought my boyfriend with me! It's always been a dream of mine to travel around Japan with him and we decided back in September that we should make this dream come true!

Once we decided we wanted to stay in Tokyo, I booked the flight pretty much that week. So far, the goal is to try and update videos every night of what we were up to during the day but we're probably going to be around a day behind. I'm having a few camera issues at the moment, so expect this post to go up around our second day in Japan. It took me 4 hours to upload a single video :(


I wanted to start our Japan series off by showing our flight! 



We flew Premium Economy from JFK, and it was really nice! We had awesome legroom and the Japan Airlines staff was as attentive as ever, but I knew from the getgo that I would have trouble sleeping in a traditional plane seat. We were able to recline our seats out pretty far, but it only bought me 4 hours or so of rest. 

I took some videos of the vegan food I received on the flight, but because we were in and out of sleep randomly I actually forgot to capture the dinner meal. Regardless, both Vincent and I really liked the food!


On our first day, we headed to Sensoji Temple!



The next video contains footage from our first official day traveling around, which is when we went to Sensoji Temple and the surrounding area Asakusa and Ueno areas. It's only been one day but we both had a lot of fun and I can honestly say that doing this together is so much better than any time I've ever gone just by myself. 

Check out the video here!




We headed out pretty early in the morning because the plane put our sleep out of whack. We ended up waking up at around 6 am, getting ready and leaving the house at around 7:25. This was good because we got to Sensoji before it got massively crowded, but bad because a lot of the vendors weren't open when we initially arrived.




We got to experience crowds though, don't worry! When we headed back to the temple later in the day for some shopping it was completely packed. We picked up a souvenir or two and then made our way to a nearby cat cafe to check it out.

While we were walking there we saw an advertisement for an 'Exotic animals cafe' and we were immediately interested. We had no idea how to get there though because the button on the elevator for that floor wasn't working. We stopped a man we found and asked about the second floor, and it turned out that he was the owner of the shop. He let us right in and explained the various animals he had.

There were otters, meerkats, lizards, geckos, and a fennec fox! You can see how cute these animals were in the video, as well as these cute snapshots :)

Fennec Fox



After we went to the animal cafe, we decided to walk around a bit more before heading to a local park. We sat and talked for a bit, ate some snacks, and then headed over to Ueno! I really wanted to see if I could get the final squishy for the series I was collecting but sadly the machine had been removed. We decided to get a little blue Daruma with tiny orbs inside which was super cute!


We walked around Ueno Park where we saw some shrines and tried to navigate the whole park. Needless to say, we walked over 18,000 steps! We tried to walk as much as possible to work up an appetite, and it worked! We had an early dinner at the Ueno location of Ichiran ramen, which was so delicious.

Ichiran Ramen

The jetlag kinda got us beat, we ended up going home and falling asleep at around 6pm. We tried to stay up to maintain a normal sleep schedule but it just wasn't in the cards.

Tomorrow is our Akihabara day so be on the lookout for that!